Nyob zoo! Welcome to the Center for Hmong Studies
The Center for Hmong Studies currently offers the following programs for our students, scholars, and community members:
- A biennial International Conference on Hmong Studies
- A Minor in Hmong Studies and its scheduled course offerings
- Ongoing exhibits relating to the Hmong experiences
- Ongoing lectures on topics relating to the Hmong experiences
- A yearly academic and community tour to China and Southeast Asia
- A resource library and artifact collections
- Speakers bureau
Established in 2004, the Center for Hmong Studies is a Concordia University, St. Paul-affiliated institution. The Center exists to promote the scholarly interest, the rich legacy, and the complex heritage of the Hmong people.
The Hmong are in a unique position to articulate the ideas and practices of a shifting modern world. Dispersed across the globe, without the advantage of a written script for much of their history, the Hmong are a powerful byproduct of global interactions and international relations. Bonded by a foundation of the oral, a tradition embedded in legends and memory, the Hmong are an example of a global community that has survived despite the influences of dominant cultures and perspectives, the powers of market economies, and the strident pulls of politics.
The Center for Hmong Studies is an academic resource center that is unique in its service and commitment. The Center exists to track, document, research, develop and teach the long history, the current conditions, and the future trajectory of an international community in the midst of transition. Funded by both public and private dollars, the Center for Hmong Studies is excited to meet the needs of a diverse population in the pursuit of delivering the most accurate information on the Hmong.
The Center for Hmong Studies is here to advance a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the Hmong people and the important role they have played in the shaping of the modern world. We are here to instigate the field of Hmong Study by unifying the ideas, experiences, and wisdom of the Hmong.
Since its founding, over 15,000 students, scholars and community members have visited the Center.
For more information, please visit, email, or call us at 651-641-8870 or email [email protected].
Contact The Center
“One stick cannot cook a meal or build a fence?”
This is the essence of Hmong wisdom.
Established in 2004, the Center for Hmong Studies is a Concordia University-affiliated institution. The Center exists to promote the scholarly interest, the rich legacy and the complex heritage of the Hmong people.
The Hmong are in a unique position to articulate the ideas and practices of a shifting modern world. Dispersed across the globe, without the advantage of a written script for much of their history, the Hmong are a powerful byproduct of global interactions and international relations. Bonded by a foundation of the oral, a tradition embedded in legends and memory, the Hmong are an example of a global community that has survived despite the influences of dominant cultures and perspectives, the powers of market economies and the strident pulls of politics.
The Center for Hmong Studies is an academic resource center that is unique in its service and commitments. The Center exists to track, document, research, develop and teach the long history, the current conditions, and the future trajectory of an international community in the midst of transition. Funded by both public and private dollars, the Center for Hmong Studies is excited to meet the needs of a diverse population in the pursuit of delivering the most accurate information on the Hmong.
The Center for Hmong Studies is here to advance a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the Hmong people and the important role they have played in the shaping of the modern world. We are here to instigate the field of Hmong Study by unifying the ideas, the experiences and the wisdom of the Hmong.
Since its founding, over 15,000 students, scholars and community members have visited the Center.
We are independent scholars, researchers, students, and community members affiliated with Concordia University and other institutions that are interested in developing a strong understanding of the Hmong people.
Our vision is to create a high academic program of interdisciplinary study on the fundamentals of the Hmong identity, the places and the people who have made us what we are today as a vibrant community of diverse perspectives
In line with the mission of Concordia University, the Center for Hmong Studies believes in preparing students for dedicated service to God and Humanity. Concordia University has played an important role in the welcoming of the Hmong community to higher education. The Center for Hmong Studies will work to make Concordia University the University of Choice for Hmong and non-Hmong students and scholars interested in the field of Hmong Study.
- Through our teaching, we will make accessible Hmong history, culture, language, and people.
- We will find the foremost scholars to lecture and teach the courses.
- The Center will work with other universities to find the best resources to enable effective and stimulating dialogue and thought on the crucial components of Hmong in the world.
Our objective is to take Hmong to the world and invite the world to Concordia University Saint Paul.
Beyond a minor degree in Hmong Studies, the Center will offer an international conference every other year on topics that are beneficial and important to the Hmong, the ideas and philosophies, the current conditions and imminent challenges that question and answer who we are as a people, where we will be as integrated identities. We will initiate scholarly research on topics that have not been studied, that need to be studied more in depth, and whose conclusions will shed light on necessary information that will strengthen the core of an academic and societal understanding of Hmong. Through research and publication, teaching and curriculum, conference and convening, the Center for Hmong Studies will become a home for Hmong-related scholarship.
The Center for Hmong Studies is here for Hmong and non-Hmong alike interested in the field of Hmong Studies.
We have served students, teachers, business people, institutions and members of the community at large in our programming and lecture series. Since January of 2006, over two thousand individuals have visited the Center for Hmong Studies. We have had the pleasure of receiving visitors from Germany, China, Japan, Australia and throughout the United States.
Reflections from individuals who have worked with the Center for Hmong Studies, attended our events or visited?
I am very pleased to have been a member of the Advisory Board and involved in many of the Center?s activities, such as public lecture and the First International Conference on Hmong Studies. For me, the Center for Hmong Studies represents the transition of the Hmong from pre-literacy to literacy. It is a center for students and scholars to do research and expand the knowledge base of the Hmong and their experience. It provides a forum for intellectual discussion and dialogue. It houses literature related to the field of Hmong studies and serves as an institute where knowledge about the Hmong can be learned, examined, explored and disseminated. The CHS is the first step toward the future and more programs. As Confucius said, ?A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.
Kou Yang, Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
California State University, Stanislaus
When I first learned that the Center for Hmong Studies was to be created, I was very excited because I have dreamed for a long time to see such a center established in the Twin Cities which have become a new home for tens of thousands Hmong refugees from Laos. I believe, indeed, that the Center for Hmong Studies will contribute to keep our Hmong cultural heritage alive in this land of freedom and hospitality.
Dr. Yang Dao
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
From ?The Center for Hmong Studies: A Treasure of Resources
Having a Center focused on academics and research on the Hmong is a great idea! It makes perfect sense to have a center based in the Twin Cities, which harbors the largest number of Hmong living in the U.S. Having such a center can only help to instill interest in both Hmong and non-Hmong students about the Hmong, The last time I attended an event there, I was excited to see so many students come out for a lecture! I’m glad that we have a place where we can study about our own culture and history!
Lucie Passus, Communications
Saint Paul, Minnesota
The Hmong Center is a conscientious, intentional purposeful place to memorialize our collective history as we formulate who we are in relation to each other and respective adopted countries. I have attended the community Open House, Dr. Yang Tinghsua?s lecture, Dr. Gary Yia Lee?s discussion of the contemporary Hmong identity and various other programs of the Hmong Center. It warms the heart and reassures the mind that we are making great progress as a Hmong people.
Der Yang, Esquire
Saint Paul, Minnesota
I went to the Professor from China?s lecture with my older sister. I didn?t think it would be interesting. I went because she wanted me to hear the first lecture of my life on Hmong people. I sat there and I saw the professor, so authentically Chinese and Hmong, and I knew how lucky I was. It is so cool that there is a place that would bring a professor all the way from China to come and speak on Hmong. It?s who I am. It is the first time I heard my people spoken of in such a way.
Xue L. Yang, Student
?I like the idea of a place that will bring Hmong people from all around the world together to think on who we are. In the work that I do, more people usually means more work: more work means that things are getting done, or at the very least: some formal recognition of attention to the issues at hand. This is exciting. A place that will call work to be done.?
Meng Vang, Mental Health Therapist
Saint Paul, Minnesota
This Center for Hmong Studies is only as good as we make it! What I mean is that we need to utilize it, be involved in it, and support it both financially and emotionally. We cannot and should not just raise money to erect it and fill it with books, pictures and documents to enrich our lives and the lives of others?if done right, the Center can prove to be a very important focal point for all Hmong throughout the world to connect and enrich each other?s lives. It is unlimited what we can share. We can share music, history, words of compassions and hope; we can share knowledge to help Hmong farmers in China, Laos, and Thailand to increase the yield per hectare of land they are farming. Thereby increasing the amount of food they can put on their tables and possibly surplus that can be sold in new markets to bring them some much needed cash flow. This cash flow will than provide medicine, clothing, shoes, education, and other necessities for their families. These are the tangibles that we can measure.
General Vang Pao
Translated Speech from June 28, 2005
Statement for Concordia University?St. Paul?s Center for Hmong Studies Open House
Comments from some of our visitors
“What a unique, cozy space! I learned a lot about Hmong culture today. Thank you.”
“Thank you. Gorgeous exhibit.”
“What a great resource.”
“Great exhibit. Really enjoyed it.”
“Inspiring and eye opening.”
“Interesting and informative.”
“Very interesting. I learned a lot and it helped me with my research project.”
“Beautiful – with gratitude.”
“Thanks for the education.”
“Thank you for allowing us to view the exhibit.”
“Yay! I finally made it to the Center for Hmong Studies. A dream come true.”
“I love this place, the vibe it gives is unexplainable.”
“Would visit again any day.”
“This place is awesome. It’s great to see the changes of the Hmong from places to places – great visual.”
“What a wonderful testimony to the Hmong culture and tradition.”
“Thank you so much for providing this wonderful center to learn more about the Hmong people. God’s Blessings. “
“This was epic.”
“it was awesome. I love the library.”
Since the establishment of the Center in 2004, it has accomplished the following:
- Have accumulated over 2,000 books, academic papers, 200,000 documents, artifacts and audio/video items related to the Hmong people worldwide.
- Organized and hosted six International Conferences on Hmong Studies, which drew more than 180 presenters/scholars and over 3,000 participants from throughout the world.
- Provided more than ten lectures and eight film discussions relating to Hmong life; attracting combined audience members exceeding over 3,000.
- Hosted Dr. Gary Yia Lee, a former faculty member from the University of Sydney, Australia as the Centers’ first Scholar in Residence and Professor Long Yuxiao of Guizhou University as a Fulbright Scholar, and Professor Huang Xiurong of Zhong Qing China as a visiting scholars.
- Developed and Launched the first Minor in Hmong studies in the world.
- Facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Concordia University and Guizhou University for Nationalities and Guizhou University in Guizhou Province, China.
- Conducted five academic tours to China, Laos, and Thailand for staff, student, faculty and community members since 2006.
- Published selected papers from the First International Conference in Hmong Studies entitled, The Impact of Globalization and Trans-nationalism on the Hmong.
- Received over 15,000 guests/visitors from throughout the world.
What We Do
Minors in Hmong Studies
In the fall of 2006, the Center for Hmong Studies launched the first Hmong studies minor in the world, with seven core Hmong-specific courses. The minor offers undergraduate students the opportunity to explore the culture, history and language of the Hmong people throughout the world. It is a good way to apply methods or ways of thinking from one?s major to a particular part of the world. It also allows students to use the region of Asia as well as the Hmong as a case study for work in their primary discipline. The minor will also provide a unique opportunity for students to augment their knowledge, language skills and cross-culture expertise in a region and a community that is of strategic and global importance.
Dr. Gary Yia Lee, a world renowned Hmong scholar from Australia, became the Center for Hmong Studies? first Scholar-in-Residence in 2006. After gathering feedback from Hmong scholars throughout the world as to what courses should be developed, Dr. Gary Yia lee was then asked to develop the minor and taught it until conclusion of his residency in 2007. The minor is comprised of the following courses:
– Introduction to Hmong Studies;
– Introduction to Hmong History;
– Hmong Culture and Society;
– Hmong Literature and Art;
– Hmong Cosmology and Beliefs;
– Reading and Writing for Hmong;
– People and Culture of Southeast Asia/China
Non-Concordia University students and community members can audit the courses for a nominal fee. To learn more about the minor or to find out
what classes will be offered and when, please call Lee Pao Xiong at 651-641-8870 or email at [email protected].
The Center for Hmong Studies actively supports and conducts scholarly research on the Hmong people worldwide.
Currently, the Center is a partner in a research and education project with the Women Environmental Institute, the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women and Ready 4 K to assess the potential impact of perfluorochemical (PFC) on Hmong families and individuals living in the East Metro area of the Twin Cities.
In past, the Center for Hmong Studies has provided support to Concordia University’s history professor, Dr. Paul Hillmer, in his work in collecting oral histories from Hmong as well as non-Hmong individuals whose lives intertwined during the Vietnam War. Dr. Paul Hillmer recently concluded a documentary film on the journey of the Hmong to Minnesota and finished a book entitled, A People’s History of the Hmong, which was published by the Minnesota Historical Press in 2010.
The Center also served as the fiscal agent for a documentary film produced by Kao Kalia Yang, a poet and an author, documenting the lives of Hmong living in the refugee camp of Ban Vinai in Thailand. The Center for Hmong Studies has worked with the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, Hmong American Institute for Learning and Coffee House Press to launch Kao Kalia Yang’s latest book, the Latehomecomer.
The Center for Hmong Studies teamed up with Hmong Filmmakers Kao Chang of New Age Home Entertainment and Moua Lee of Golden Path Entertainment to produced a short video to honor General Vang Pao and to discuss future leadership qualities as it relates to the Hmong community. You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEHsE1xbAP8
The Center recently partnered with the Minnesota Digital Library to interview, preserve, and share the stories of ten Hmong Minnesotans who have made a significant impact on the lives of the Hmong people. To hear their stories, click on this link: http://immigrants.mndigital.org/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=45&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=Center+for+Hmong+Studies%2C+Concordia+University+-+St.+Paul
Since its inception, the Center for Hmong Studies has had the privilege of bringing many outstanding scholars of Hmong Studies to Concordia University and the community at large. We have had guests from around the world: Dr. Yang Tinghsua of China, Dr. Gary Yia Lee of Australia and Dr. Kou Yang of the USA?to name a few. The Center has also held book reading for Dr. Chia Youyee Vang as she released her latest book, Hmong American Reconstructing Community in Diaspora.
The Center recenlty recently assisted 2007 World Series of Poker champion, Jerry Yang, launched his book entilted All In: From Refugee Camp to Poker Champ.All of our lectures and symposiums are free and open to the general public. Check our Calendar of Events link for our latest scheduled lectures and events.
On March 10th and 11th, 2006 the Center for Hmong Studies convened the first international conference on Hmong Studies. Titled The Impact of Globalization and Trans-nationalism on the Hmong? the Conference brought together over 500 scholars, researchers, and community members from around the world, each from a unique perspective on what it means to be interested in the scholarship around Hmong.
The Center is now planning for the 7th International Conference on Hmong Studies, which will take place from April 6-7, 2018. Check our conference website for updates and registration information.
The Center for Hmong Studies organizes several tours to Asia each year.
- In November of 2000, 26 individuals participated in a two week tour of China. They visited the Great Wall, sailed down the Guilin River, and visited the National University of Kunming. The group experienced an authentic dinner in a Hmong village. They learned about the Hmong as an ethnicity of wide ranging diversity in China.
- In January of 2005, students and faculty participated in an academic tour of Thailand, the only country in Southeast Asia that has never known the presence of colonial rule. The group studied the multiple facets of Thai society: its history, language, culture and people.
- In January of 2007, the Center for Hmong Studies hosted a course in China. Fifteen students from Concordia University and interested community members attended a two week sojourn through China?s great landscapes and historical grounds. The course focused on the development of the country and its people, the trajectories of history and modernity, the contentions of place.
- In January of 2010 the Center sponsored a two week tours to Thailand and Laos.
- From December 27, 2011 to January 15, 2012, the Center sponsored a trip to Thailand Laos.
All of tours are open to the public. If you have interest in joining us, please email to Lee Pao Xiong at [email protected] or 651-641-8870.
These are just some of the exciting opportunities through the Center for Hmong Studies.
The Center spearheaded several community engagement activities. They include:
- Haiv Hmong radio, a weekly public affair program about the Hmong people and issues affecting the Hmong community. The radio program is broadcast live every Wednesday night from 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm on KFAI Radio 90.3 FM in Minneapolis and 106.7 FM in St. Paul or Streaming live on the World Wide Web at www.kfai.org.
- Speakers bureau. Since 2004, Center staff has been asked to keynote many events within the community. Activities included keynoting addresses for two Hmong New Year celebrations and countless graduations ceremonies.
- Non-profit board membership. Because of expertise, staff have served on several non-profit boards, such as Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and the St. Paul Public School Foundation.
The Center for Hmong Studies takes great pride in the partners that we have within Concordia University, the rest of the country, and the international world in advancing the field of Hmong Studies.
Within Concordia we are working with: The Southeast Asian Teacher Licensure Program (SEAT), the Hmong Culture and Language Program and the Hmong Oral History Project. In the St. Paul, we are working with Hmong Academy, General John Vessey Jr. Leadership Academy, Community School of Excellence charter schools (institutions sponsored by Concordia University) and the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association of Minneapolis. The Center for Hmong Studies is also home to the Hmong Arts Connection (formerly known as Hmong American Institute for Learning).
We are proud of our network of resources across the country. We correspond and actively engage with scholars from all over the United States of America. We work closely with organizations from other states who are interested in learning more about our mission and our projects.
Internationally, we are working with Guizhou University and Guizhou University for Nationalities in China in the areas of: research exchanges, student exchanges, faculty exchanges; and publication exchanges.
What we are we able to offer to Students
1. An international education;
2. Research skills;
3. Human relation skills;
4. International travel opportunities;
5. Career enhancement opportunities;
6. A life changing experiences;
7. Access to over 3,000 books, DVD, CD and 200,000 documents about the Hmong people worldwide
News & Events
The Center for Hmong Studies provides an important service to the community. We are a forum for thoughts and ideas on Hmong Studies. We have been featured in a variety of media.
The following are a few selected newspaper articles about the Center for Hmong Studies or where the Center for Hmong Studies’ director was quoted:
- Dr. Lee Discusses Hmong in America at Concordia University
- What’s Next for the Center for Hmong Studies
- Dr. Gary Yia Lee Discusses the Origins of the Hmong
- Dr. Gary Yia Lee
- Hmong Minnesota Student Association Heritage Day
- Roger Warner Discuses Laos War at Concordia University
- Hmong Center Received $50,000
- Center is first of its’ kind
- Concordia Offers Hmong Language Class
- Jerry Yang, Poker Champ Visits Twin Cities
- NPR Next Generation Radio
- Hmong migration to Minnesota
- Ten things about Hmong culture, history and language
- Film, play explore the generational impact of war
- Hmong Immersion Program in Sacramento
- American Legion Post 1975
- McDonald Sign Translation
- ABC of Hmong
- Celebrating and reflecting on Hmong history and culture
- History through textiles
- Hmong International Film Festival
- Lutheran and Hmong in Minnesota
- Vang Verdict
- Qualities of Leadership
- Confirmation of GVP’s death
- Radio Operator Reunion
- Response to Hmong Country people
- 4th International
- 5th International Conference
- History of Hmong Martial Arts
- 6th International Conference on Hmong Studies
- 6th International Conference on Hmong Studies
- Colonel Bill Lair Vigil
- 6th International Conference on Hmong Studies
After consulting with Concordia University administrators and with hesitation, we have decided to postpone the 8th International Conference on Hmong Studies until further notice.
Since we will have people traveling to the conference from throughout the world, it would be best to be proactive versus reactive in this atmosphere of fear regarding the Corona Virus. We have also seen a reduction in the number of people registering for the conference thus far.
We apologize for this inconvenience, especially for those who have already made your travel plans. If you registered for the conference already, we will work with the finance office to refund your registration fee or we can hold on to it until we reschedule the conference. Just let me know how you want to handle it.
Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know at [email protected].
Thank you for your interest in the 8th International Conference on Hmong Studies. I hope you are excited about the conference as we are. Over 30 abstracts was submitted. Topics for the presentation will be posted soon. Please check back often. In the mean time, the registration link in now open. You can register by clicking on the link below. Remember, registration is on a first come first serve basis as registration is limited to the first 500 individuals.
Call for Abstracts and Presentations is now closed.
Call for Abstracts/Presentations
The 8th International Conference on Hmong Studies is seeking abstracts and presentation proposals.
For individual papers, please provide the title, a 250-word abstract, name and affiliation, contact information, and a one-page curriculum vitae or brief biography. Individual presentations should run no longer than 60 minutes and should include 15 minutes for questions and discussions.
Organized panels should consist of three to four panelists and one moderator. Please provide a title, brief description of the panel, 250-word abstracts for each paper, and the names and institutional affiliations of all participants. Each panel is allotted 60 minutes, inclusive of open forum.
Please submit individual papers and panel proposals to [email protected]. The deadline for submission of Abstract Proposal is December 30th, 2019. Complete papers are due by March 1, 2020. Selected papers may be considered for publication in an edited volume by the Center for Hmong Studies.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
• Acculturation & Adaptation
• Art, Music & Media
• Business & Economic Development
• Culture & Society
• Language, Linguistics & Literature
• Current Hmong Issues
• Diaspora Community
• Families & Children
• Gender Relations
• Health & Wellness
• Hmong in China, Thailand, Laos, France, etc.
• Hmong History
• Hmong Identity
• Religious Beliefs & Practices
All tracks will be presented in English unless noted. When submitting your proposal, please indicate whether your presentation will be in Hmong, English or other languages. Proposals should be submitted to [email protected].
Please direct questions concerning this Call for Papers or the conference to:
Lee Pao Xiong
Director of the Center for Hmong Studies
Concordia University, St. Paul
1282 Concordia Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
Email: [email protected]
The Center for Hmong Studies is home to a rotating display of informative and engaging exhibitions, offering a rare and fascinating insight into the diversity and richness of the Hmong cultures. Our exhibits feature objects from our collection, such as traditional handmade clothing and textiles, jewelry, handicraft and household tools, historical documents, photos as well as ritual and religious artifacts.
Currently, we are displaying some of the panels from the Minnesota Historical Society’s recently closed We Are Hmong Minnesota Exhibit, enhancing it with our collection to make this exhibit informative and educational for those with interest in learning about the Hmong history, culture, and language.
We also have an exhibit about how the Hmong came to know Christ and the many missionaries that came to ministered to the Hmong in Laos. The exhibits are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Lee Pao Xiong at 651-641-8870 or [email protected].
Support the Center for Hmong Studies
The Center for Hmong Studies has three important fundraising goals. They are (1) gifts for operating support (2) program support, and (3) endowment for sustaining support.
The operating budget for the Center is approximately $150,000 a year. Any way you can help to keep the Center going would be much appreciated.
Approximately $ 50,000 is needed for program support. Some of these program cost included but not limited to the Scholar in Residence program, the semi-annual International Conference on Hmong Studies, artifact acquisition, preservation and public lectures, book readings, film showing, the many exhibits that we put together for the general public.
Our goal is to raise $5 million to provide sustaining support for the Center for Hmong Studies well into the future.
In order to reach these ambitious goals, financial support for the Center for Hmong Studies will come from the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations. If you would like additional information how you can financially support the Center for Hmong Studies, please contact Lee Pao Xiong, Director of the Center for Hmong Studies at [email protected], or by calling (651) 641-8870. Your contribution is tax deductible and will be acknowledged in all of our publications. We thank you in advance for your consideration and generous support!